AйDa Piroshki, believe it or not they're as good OR BETTER than House of Piroshki!
Before I get into details, the following statement tells you what you need to know. I traveled 100 miles round trip to try these piroshki based on Yelp reviews and it was worth it! I plan on doing so again and again.
This shop is in a funky little shared space with 5 other businesses. Once you realize how wonderful these piroshki are, you'll probably want to order them by the dozen. If so, call ahead a day or so.
Anna Tvelova is the owner and creator of these masterpieces. If you stop by at the right time, you can see her put the piroshki together and prepare them for baking, which she does right on the spot. Anna is charming and lots of fun to talk with about her love of cooking Russian food
In the 1970s and early 1980s, there was a shop in the Inner Richmond called House of Piroshki. They made piroshki that caused addiction. Since they closed in the 80s, I have searched in vain for any piroshki that would be even close to those delights. Search here and you'll find a thread or two with many like-minded heretofore hapless devils. I found a few piroshki over that span of time that were ok but not anywhere near special, hard to understand in an area with such a large Russian population extending into the East Bay and South Bay.
Yesterday, my search joyfully ended. AйDa Piroshki are easily the equal to House of Piroshki for the best piroshki I've ever had. They're probably better in many ways. They're baked and each bite causes moans of ecstasy. They're pretty to look at, which hints at what awaits withing. The dough is flavorful and has a very nice texture, spongy on the inside and crisp on the outside. The fillings are outstanding, with the only drawback being that it's hard to decide which are your favorites. My favorite is whichever one I'm eating at the time.
If you want vegetarian, Potato and Cheese or Mushroom and Spinach are very hearty and bursting with flavor. The Chicken and Beef varieties are equally satisfying. They're all outstanding.
However, the one you absolutely must try is Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. I've occasionally (actually, rarely) had them as turnovers. These are almost unbelievably good. They should be eaten warm for best effect. If you're a smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel lover, try these and you may decide you like these better.
If you've read this far, here's your assignment. Go to AйDa Piroshki and get blissfully addicted on the spot (one of the merchants that shares her space makes Egg Creams so you can get that as an accompanying beverage). It won't take more than one taste to get you set up to Jones for these piroshki.
After you realize that you're hopelessly hooked, there is only one thing to do. Post a review on Yelp and tell everyone you know, emphasizing that it is worth the trip if distance is an issue (I drove from Mountain View, as an example).
It is important that Anna's business thrives and even expands. AйDa Piroshki is a very rare example of filling a long-vacant void in the culinary world of the Bay Area. May she make these superb treats for many years and become the standard by which all others are judged.
331 Cortland Ave, SF, CA 94110
Smoked Salmon and cream cheese piroshki is other worldly. My eyes closed and my head tilted back. It was THAT good. And the bread surrounding it is fantastic! I've only had piroshkis in the past where the whole thing was fried or was extremely oily and the fillings were bland.
I've also tried Beef and Cheese, potato and cheese, mushroom and rice, vegan mushroom and spinach, and apples and cranberries. Everything was killer. Seriously killer.
I was in the city this morning so went there. The very gracious owner, Anna, was minding the space, cooking, and serving. She had run out of the beef piroshki on Saturday and this morning's batch wouldn't be ready for two hours, so I didn't get to try that one. I did have the smoked salmon and cream cheese (she said it was "Seattle inspired") and it was great. I also had the Cheesy Potato & Grilled Onions one. It was quite good, probably not enough cheese for me (couldn't really tell it had cheese in it), but very well spiced. I also had a slice of the Apple, Cranberry & Almond piroshki and it was also very good, with very fresh flavors, and not too sweet. Is this place as good as the old and lamented House of Piroshki (I lived near Irving & 9th Ave in the last 70's)? Who knows. I didn't have the beef version which would have been the best comparison. The ones i did have were very different than what was offered at the HoP so there's really no comparison to be done. But this is a special place and you owe it to yourself to go and see what you think.
I seem to recall some ground beef ones and maybe mushroom, coming with clear noodles as a garnish, filler, type addition. Paramount Piroshki did it too. I don't recall it as something you ordered.
Cinderella were using them, but the last time I tried them, they had substituted chopped egg instead.
We visited yesterday and tried three--smoked salmon, potato/cheese and beef.
Both the salmon and beef were excellent. The potato/cheese wasn't flavorful, except for a lot of dried dill outside of the pastry shell, which was overwhelming rather than complementary.
I would definitely order the other two again, along with other meat varieties. Also that day, there was a special that I misread as Rabbit Delight. I was excited to try a rabbit-stuffed pastry until I read the fine print and saw that it was "Rabbit's Delight"--vegetarian peas and carrots. Carnivore sad face. :(
We also like the Salmon-Cream Cheese best, freshly baked and still warmly delicious by the time we reached home. The chicken-mushroom is also very satisfying with its hearty filling. Anna forms each piroshki with different shapes to identify its filling. She is delightfully friendly and helpful. Next time, soup - and more piroshki. We'll have the Beef & Cheese, Beef & Onion, and the Potato-Onion with dinner tonight.
pix l to r: 5 piroshki, shape: filling, salmon-cream cheese, chicken-mushroom, beef-cheese, beef-onion, potato-onion
Based on the multiple recommendations, I stopped by for the purposes of trying the SALMON PIROSHKI. I thought it was pretty good although I have to say -- much to my surprise -- I thought the soup completely blew away the PIROSHKI ... it was some kind of RUSSIAN PICKLE SOUP WITH 50cent BEEF.
I forgot what it was actually called ... something like Raskolnokov?
Oh I see ObGoogle: RASSOLNIK
The have some kind of deal: $7 for choice-of-piroshki + cup-of-soup + 50cent for beef-in-soup.
After hearing the description, I wasnt sure I'd like the soup on a hot day ... but it was awesome (and I have trouble saying 'no' to anything with sour creme). I dont think the beef was kidney [per the Wikipedia page]. It was not clear to be whether she does different soups on different days, but I'd go back just for a bown of Rassolnik.
I have a feeling I'd like the BEEF-based piroshkis more, but I'd previous bought a bunch of foods at the NEW WHEAT FIELD BAKERY, so I didnt go overboard ... BTW, has anyone had the MACAU and STANDARD DAN TAT from NEW WHEATFIELD? I think the MACAU ones are pretty good [$1.25].
The Piroshki Proprietress seemed very nice.
Rassolnik is superb. I am a very good cook. I make very good soup. Typically, I would make an effort to replicate anything really good I have in a restaurant. I don't want to try to do a version of this; it's so incredibly good, I just want to be able to buy it here and take it home. A great soup is one of the pleasures of life and this is great soup.